Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Break

Well, today is the first day of 春休み 「はるやすみ」 "haruyasumi" or "Spring Break." When us Westerners think of Spring Break, we imagine a week-long vacation in March (or April for high school, I guess?) where people like to travel and whatnot. Well, in Japan, Spring Break is actually between semesters. Or rather, it is between school years. Japan's semesters are split up into trimesters (didn't I explain this in a post last year or before?); from April - July, August - December, and January - March. The break between the first and second semester is actually longer than the break between school years. No idea why. Also, no idea why the school year is split up into three three trimesters with a different number of school days.

Something that is rather annoying is that "Spring Break" really isn't a break at all. Students still come to school for club activities. And all of the clubs are managed by the teachers, so they come, too (though sometimes external coaches are hired to assist with the training). Something I find pretty cool is that some of the kids who graduated come back and assist with the training during this time, too. I think it's for the sake of training the new Team Captains. A passing of the torch and showing of the ropes.

Anyway, back to the annoying part. So most if not all of the teachers show up to work. (The assistant teachers don't, though.) But there are no classes. So what the hell are all the teachers doing all day? Granted, there surely is work to be done; finishing up anything from the past school year like grading and such, or preparing for the upcoming school year. But in case you didn't know, there is kind of a running joke that all Japanese teachers seem to be in on; and that is the art of pretending to be busy. "Working." Us ALTs are masters at "working," though we aren't as good at hiding it. It becomes blatantly obvious when we laugh at a friend's facebook comment or a message on Skype. But that's okay. No one cares. 'Cause they're "working" via other methods.

Today, I brought my newly acquired acoustic guitar to school. I played a little bit to show a student a few chords, and a few hours later, students were asking me to play. Guess word got out. The guitar is great; I bought it from a friend for a very reasonable price. And he's an excellent guitarist, so I trust his judgment on having bought the guitar in the first place.

I intend to bring the guitar again tomorrow. I think the English Teacher and I will jam. I look forward to it. This is my way of turning the boredom of "Spring Break" into something productive!

Word of the Day: 退屈 「たいくつ」 "taikutsu," which means "boredom" or "tedium." It can be used to express one's boredom. A related word is 詰まらない 「つまらない」 "tsumaranai," which means "boring."

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